Bambi (1942)

G   |    |  Animation, Drama, Family


Bambi (1942) Poster

The story of a young deer growing up in the forest.

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7.3/10
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  • James MacDonald in Bambi (1942)
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5 August 2000 | heckles
Not at all like its sentimental reputation
I was staying over at the home of my three-year old niece; after everyone had gone to bed, I found and popped this title in the VCR. I had only a rough familiarity with the plot (like everyone, I knew Bambi's mother gets killed) and was also aware that "Bambism" has been used as describing a overly sentimental love of wildlife.

Oh wow. I found that while this movie certainly has a heart for its characters, it is not at all sugarcoated about the realities of animal life. Consider the following points it makes:

1) Animals do not live in nuclear families. Bambi lives with his mother only, his presumptive father is off in the background.

2). Animals often go hungry in the winter.

3). Male animals must be prepared to fight rivals as a prelude to mating.

4). Man (here assisted by canine lackeys) is easily the most dangerous threat creatures face.

Rather than putting a Hollywood gloss on animal life, "Bambi" if anything is better than what would be made today. Remember that the same studio recently put Hercules into a doting nuclear family, the actual circumstances of the hero's birth apparently thought too scandalous for contemporary children to be exposed to (though one presumes ancient Greek children handled them well enough).

Plus when you consider that a large sector of the populace takes a "humanity couldn't possibly be at fault" attitude toward the decimation of animal populations, you know that Point 4). above would today be softpedaled if not entirely neutralized by the addition of sympathetic human characters. Look what happened with the otherwise excellent TBS production of "Animal Farm."

And the animation!! The gorgeous, pencil-drawn Impressionistic renditions of the rhythms of the woodlands makes you wonder if modern animators haven't been spoiled by computer graphics. I'm only sorry I probably won't ever see this film in a theatre, as it was meant to be seen.

As cliche as it may sound, this is a timeless film for all ages. I cannot praise it highly enough.

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